I know that the social media world moves on from Thanksgiving the day after it’s over, but I made the decision to focus on my family and my children’s needs over the Thanksgiving weekend, which meant putting off blogging. I hope that you will understand and file away this idea for future Thanksgivings, or make the chain whenever you wish to consider all of your gratitude. I often think it would benefit us all to intentionally consider what we are grateful for more times throughout the year.
For our November Intergenerational Book Club meeting, a resident read to the children, Thanks for Thanksgiving, by Julie Markes. This simple rhyming book is a great read aloud option, not only because it is relatable to young children, but it’s also simple to read with large clear font. The book simply follows the children in a family and notes the many things they might be thankful for (play dates, piggy back rides, dress-up, and puddles, for example). I do wish this book showed a bit more diversity. The children in the book all appear to be white, so I think the book is a bit limiting in that regard. I also should note, the book highlights being thankful for mom and dad. Again, this isn’t a problem in and of itself, but if you are looking for a book that is sensitive to different family dynamics or a family that only has one parent, there are probably better choices.
With all that in mind, after reading the book, we expanded on the thankfulness concept and created a thankful chain. Both the visitors and the residents contributed to the chain with the goal to see how long we could make it. I cut out strips of card-stock in fall colors in advance of the meeting, but if you had enough scissors and time, allowing the participants to cut the strips at the meeting might be good fine-motor work for both the children and potentially the residents. Everyone then wrote things that they are thankful for on the chain, we stapled the strips together and left it as decoration at the Assisted Living residence. I think it’s always quite inspiring and humbling to learn what people at all stages of life are grateful for.
We repeated this activity at our family thanksgiving meal and decorated the table with our chain. My two little ones were sick the day of the meeting and they wanted to participate. This was a lovely way to contribute and be sure we added some humbling “thanks” to our Thanksgiving. Again, file this idea away for your next Thanksgiving book club (or perhaps any upcoming family gathering or holidays–there is no bad time for gratitude).
We are certainly thankful for our book club members, young and old alike, and our readers who follow our journey along.